Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Mid-Hudson Valley, New York
When my grandparent’s house was sold in 1998, I took a trip down to VA to pick up some of the furniture. Rented a 15’ truck, loaded it to the gills, and traveled back to NY. Got off the Jersey turnpike at Exit 11 on the GSP. At the first toll booth, the toll troll told me I was overweight. I wondered how he could tell, since I was sitting up pretty high in the cab. That’s not what he was talking about, though. He told me trucks were not allowed on the GSP, and the fines were pretty stiff if I got stopped for it. He also said the GSP was a private road, so that’s where I got the idea. I drove off the exit immediately after the toll booth into some strange-looking industrial park- no map, never been there before, it was dark and the gas station attendants in the nicest part of town I went through carried sidearms. I believe I was in Newark. Handling a big truck with the rest of the family in the stawag following…this was a little scary. Bars on everything on the buildings at street level. Long story short, I did manage to find an interstate and get home.
New Jersey is always an experience for me. We went back to VA a year ago, and I went a different way, maybe it was Rt. 15, don’t remember. At some point we were in this huge marsh-type area. There were long, elevated bridges/roadways that went through, all sorts of industrial smokestacks in the distance. The juxtaposition of the marsh and industry…a mad landscape…it could have been the inspiration for some sort of post-apocalyptic science fiction. Fascinating.
Back in SE VA toll roads were few and far between when compared to the NE. We did have some though, as there were a lot of bridges built over the years to connect Norfolk/VA beach with Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, etc. In 1964, the ferry to Hampton was replaced with a bridge, and the toll was $1.25, significant money for a time when new 3-bedroom brick houses sold for $20,000. You could buy a ticket book and the cost would be 50 cents less. A number of years later, the toll was removed, and not reinstated in spite of the fact that a second span was built to handle the traffic. A toll was instituted on the Virginia Beach Expressway when it was built, but when the time came to remove the tolls, the powers that be didn’t want to do it. IIRC, they claimed to need the money for maintenance. To be fair, they were constantly upgrading and working on that road. Some of the “improvements” were the stupidest waste of taxpayer money I have yet seen (and I’m a former Federal employee!). One of the local radio DJs made it one of his “causes”, and encouraged everyone to use pennies in the exit ramp toll baskets (you weren’t supposed to do that, but they would work). I suppose it became a big enough issue, because the toll was removed.
OK, enough OT. Back on topic- so what’s the limit on this little mail list? Mid-Hudson Valley included? We are probably becoming something of a bedroom community for at least some people who work in the City since 9/11.